Once a year, in October, excited whispers start circulating the streets of Cape Town – “Pinotage on Tap is coming!” The level of excitement that this festival generates is really something, especially considering how many wine festivals and farms there are in the greater Cape Town area.
But the excitement is for a good cause. Each year, Diemersfontein farm opens its gates to a flood of pinotage lovers, who descend on the farm for one of the best days of the year – no exaggeration. Barrels of their famous chocolate-flavoured pinotage are set up and flow freely all day, there are Lindt ladies walking around handing out free chocolates, you’re fed all day and bands serenade the guests all afternoon.
But there’s something else that makes this festival such a special one. Perhaps it’s because the timing falls just as Cape Town is waking up from its winter hibernation and remembering how much fun summer is, perhaps it’s the joy of a whole day of delicious red wine, perhaps it’s simply the effect of copious amounts of said wine in said summer sun – whatever it is, Pinotage on Tap is the kind of festival that people will talk about for the rest of the year (and whisper about as soon as tickets go on sale!)
Sold out for the last few years, it’s also one of the most popular wine festivals around. This is due, in large part, to how organised the whole day is. Guests arrive and are given a picnic lunch (a delicious roast beef sandwich, an essential water bottle and a fresh-baked brownie) as well as an arm band that gives them three bowls of hot food as the day progresses: curry, tagine and pasta. As if this isn’t enough culinary abundance, there are also waiters walking around with canapés and (one of the highlights for me) a chocolate fountain with mounds of fresh strawberries and marshmallows. Be still my beating heart!
There’s also food (and beer) for sale, if boerie rolls are more your thing, but being able to have a whole day full of free food and wine is an opportunity most guests find too irresistible to pass up!
And then, of course, there are the bands – a whole afternoon of musicians guaranteed to get everyone up off the comfortable hay bales and dancing the night away. This year’s highlight was Hot Water, an eclectic band who had the crowd wrapped around their little finger… There’s nothing quite like dancing on a wine farm with the sun setting and the moon rising to make you feel like the luckiest person alive.
So what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars, book your tickets, and make sure you’re in Cape Town at the end of October 2012 for Pinotage on Tap. I’ll see you there!